Tuesdays for 21+
Keren, from West Orange, had not been to a Friendship Circle program in over a year. Rachel Fink of North Caldwell, who had volunteered on and off with the Friendship Circle for five years or so had always worked with Keren, whose sense of humor Fink appreciates. On Tuesday, January 18, both returned for Friendship Circle’s program for young adults 21 and over.
“These individuals and families have been involved with Friendship Circle for so many years, and now that they are over 21 there are not enough programs exclusively for them,” said Chavi Rosenblum, FCNJ program director. “Now Tuesdays will be Friendship Circle day for them.”
The midday program, which attracted a sizable for its launch, includes cooking a meal – on this day, pizza; socializing; and completing a task or job.
Invited to introduce themselves and share a few tidbits, Hannah talked about going to the aquarium in warm weather, Keren complimented Jonathan’s hat, and Matt shared photos and information about his brother’s cat. The group also learned that Jane loves to smile and hug and cheer, Jonathan enjoys spending time in the park, and Dan likes to swim in the pool.
As Jonathan worked on his pizza, John Amedon, his buddy, commented on the critical importance of hours spent at FCNJ and the dearth of similar opportunities. “The program gives some activities which engage him,” something he’s always looking for with Jonathan.
Meanwhile, sprinkling the cheese on his creation and adding a few finishing touches, Matt commented, “I’m making it look beautiful. I’m making it sparkle!”
After enjoying their pizza and the presentation of not only their homemade cards but also a cake for Hannah, the group spent time putting together Shabbat boxes, complete with kiddush cup, candles, tzedaka box, napkin, grape juice and more. The boxes will be distributed at local hospitals for patients who have to spend Shabbat away from home.
For Keren and Fink, assigned to add the tzedaka boxes to the Shabbat kits, it was a grand reunion. “When I come to volunteer at the Friendship Circle, it’s always for her. I’m excited to see her again!” Fink said. And Keren extracted a promise from Fink that she would introduce her husband when they meet again.